Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dirty Dishes and The Modern Housewife

When being just the stay-at-home mom is longer good enough anymore.

***Amended to clarify that this post was not written as a dig at Patrick and he has always appreciated and acknowledged all that I bring into the household. My post stemmed more from my insecurities of being a new mom, a new housewife, and incessant compulsion to compare myself to those around me.***

Last Friday, when Patrick came home from work, he asked me, “So what do you do the whole day, exactly?”

“What do you mean? I just stay at home,” I replied, not sure what he was getting at.

“Well, I just need to know what your duties as a housewife are since, look at this place! Look at the all the dirty dishes in the sink!”


I don’t know what it was, maybe his interrogating voice, his implying that I wasn’t fulfilling my role as a housewife, residual baby hormones, or just the mental and physical fatigue from a long week but I absolutely FLIPPED. I immediately thought of this stunning lady that I met at a happy hour mixer a couple weeks ago (yes, once in a blue moon I still manage to get my arse out of the house for outings that don’t revolve around the babes). She was in her early 30s, max, and had on an expensive-looking power suit laced with only a delicate string of opulent pearls and finished with a with a pair of shiny heels that must have had some designer label slapped on them (lost to me since I can count one, maybe two, items in my whole closet that can be considered “designer” garb).

Sure, it was expected that she runs her own business (something to do with putting on social networking events) but wait, “You also have two kids?”

“Yep,” she proudly professed. “Isn’t being a mother the best thing ever? So special!”

“Well how do you juggle being a mom and having such a demanding career?” my inquiring mind wanted to know.

“I am so lucky that I get to do what I love and be able to stay at home to take care of my children. You just have to get used to working harder and doing it all.”


Wait, you are a stay-at-home mom AND an entrepreneur? I get it, Super Woman. The times have changed. Being just a housewifey is no longer good enough in this time and age with our triple-shot cappuccinos and high-speed Internet. Husbands (or sorta boyfriend in my case) don’t just want someone to keep the place nice and tidy, cook multicourse nouveau French meals that would make Ina Garten green with envy, and wash and dress all five children in under thirty minutes anymore. They want the stay-at-home moms who also write books, run online businesses, or even be on a reality TV show (The Real Housewives, anyone?)…but I just can’t do that. At least not now.

Isn't there a little desperate housewife in all of us?

I’m sorry, Patrick, that I don’t look like Gretchen Rossi or greet you at the door each evening scantily clad in red lingerie and stripper heals. That right now, as I type this, I am still wearing old undershirts from your boxer drawer since I have yet to get new clothes after having a baby. That my hair’s texture these days can be likened more to that of a tumbleweed’s than a run-your-fingers-through just-went-to-the-salon ‘do. That though I like to talk a big game, I don’t actually cook as much as you would like for me to and I only get to laundry about once a week. That I never did become the rock star or get that book deal or come up with the Skinnygirl Margarita concept first...heck, that I don’t even make a single penny right now but you know what? I didn’t choose to be a stay-at-home mom since my company did the honors of deciding for me as soon as I returned to work from maternity leave. I never wanted or thought I would ever turn out to be "the housewife" and even though this wasn’t supposed to be part of my life plan, I am doing the best that I can. And you know what? I still need some time—no, lots of time—to figure everything out. Finally, I’m sorry that the dirty dishes didn’t bother me as much as they bothered you but I was eventually going wash them anyway.

But I am not sorry for King. For being the first person in the morning that he wakes up to and the last one at night cradling him to sleep. For our morning news in Chinese, our afternoon cartoons in Spanish, and ‘round the clock Food Network goodness. For our cuddling breaks, for shamelessly listening to Justin Bieber together, for recording videos of him doing nothing more than blowing spit bubbles because it is all so cute to me. And you know what? When it is just me and him, he takes a break from nursing for but a moment, and looks up. Looks up at me and his mouth can’t help but relax into the purest and most precious smile. Smiling at me as if to say, “Hey Ma, don’t worry. I think you are doing just fine.”


  1. aww! christine, you are doing just fine. call me whenever you'd like.

  2. thanks, lydia! you know how it goes, some days are better than others. but i just have to keep enjoying the time i have right now.

  3. I loved this post...wish I could join you guys for Chinese mornings!

  4. haha it's the best. i found a channel that broadcasts news from taiwan.

  5. First let me tell you: Your blogging are super duper entertaining (in the good way) and very inspirational.
    I'm an avid reader (not to be confused with stalker) of your postings, since they are not only funny, creative but very transparent; which, as said by the guru of marketing: Lawrence Chang of Tofurious, it's a recipe for successful business (if that's what you are aiming for)
    I didn't comment before, perhaps 'cuz I consider myself not so good with the words (for now) but this particular posting brought back memories of the stereotype many of us (males) have about what the "housewife job" it's about! Which, by the way, for centuries has been totally mistaken!
    In my opinion (and as verified by experts) Housewives have a very demanding and overlooked job! And we forget that a "HOME" is not just made of ONE person so EVERYONE should contribute.
    Staying home sometimes is depressing and, contrary to what many think, not so fun. (Isn't that the reason why house-arrest is considered a form of punishment?)

    As a husband, with a full-time job, instead of coming home and complaining for the dirty dishes, if any, I go ahead and clean them myself! or help with the laundry, the baby (or babies)***Hey, I didn't complaint when I was making it, right?*** By doing this, not only a express my love to my wife but also I make her happy, buy us some extra time off for those "sexy lingerie private dances" (or any other activity) :-D
    "Love is not just a declaration but a demonstration" (It takes two to Tango)
    Bottom line: Smile, you are doing fine! and keep those articles coming! I'm learning a lot from it (as well as from the amazing and artistic photographic work you do)

  6. hi gabriel,
    thanks for your comment and i am glad that you are enjoying the posts. i think we were acquainted last year through photography but obviously a lot of things have changed for me since then. i am blogging simply as an exploration of my journey to get to where i am now. it is to reflect, heal, and move forward with my best foot. if in any way i can inspire others by sharing my story, then putting myself out there will be completely worth it.

  7. A witty, twisty, and drama-filled ride...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...